Pastor Cal's
Weekly Epistle

Every week Pastor Cal
writes a weekly column
for the Spirit Page of
the Norwich Bulletin.

He also sends it out to
members and friends of
the church via e-mail.

E-mail him at
calstigers@gmail.com if
you want to be added to
the weekly list.
Central Baptist Church of Westerly
16 Elm Street, Westerly, RI   02891
Phone: (401) 596-4929   

Check out our blog at Central Baptist Life
Listening for God Before You Plunge In               January 2, 2013

Dear friends,

What was I thinking?  I stood on the beach with well over a hundred people.  I was
wearing my sweatshirt, sneakers and jogging pants.  I was ready to go but I looked totally
out of place as I geared up for the 7th Annual Penguin Plunge.

Everyone else was standing on the shore in bikinis, or in colorful t-shirts and shorts, all
getting ready to jump into the swirling waters of the Atlantic Ocean.  They were jumping
up and down in anticipation of the plunge or goading each other as they waited for the
countdown to begin.  Even members of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club were there
sporting shorts, leather jackets and swim trunks.

The temperature outside was reasonable for January 1st.  The thermometer read 41
degrees.  It was the wind and blowing snow that made it seem much colder.  A giant
penguin walked back and forth slapping five and encouraging the group to make the
event a smashing success.  I looked at one girl in a pink bathing suit that had
goosebumps on top of goosebumps.

That's when I realized how happy I was to be a spectator instead of a participant. It was
just too crazy and I was a little too old for it.  Maybe my friends, and the members of the
congregation, had actually been right.  After all, they had pledged their money for me
NOT to take the plunge.

That's right. I raised almost $900 for Westerly's WARM Shelter from people who looked
at me and said, "You shouldn't be jumping into that water."  I was a little disappointed at
first, but looking back on it now, I realize it was the voice of God speaking to me.

Have you ever heard the voice of God? Many of us expect it to come in a burning bush
experience or a booming voice from heaven.  Yet God often speaks to us in people we see
every day.  God puts it on their hearts to say or do something that send a blessing our
way.

This week I wanted to help the WARM Shelter by taking the plunge.  God said, "No!" but
then he touched the hearts of my friends to make a miracle happen.  I got to be a part of
a fun event and help God's cause but I was kept safe behind the line.  I pray you will
pause to hear God's voice in whatever you are called to do this year.  Whether it is to
plunge into something or to hold off and support others, I pray you will be blessed, even
as I was blessed.

Happy New Year! See you in church. Cal

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